Sunday, 15 May 2011

Training Walks Part Two

Living in the beautiful place where we do, on the East Devon and Dorset border, we're blessed with an abundance of beautiful places to get out to explore when the sun shines.  Even when it doesn't there's beauty and subtlety in the rolling hills, the cliffs, the pebbled beaches, the woods – whether they're covered in sun or cloud, their mood can sometimes accurately mirror my moods and lift them when they need to be. The looking at a map to find somewhere new to explore can often lead to a gem of a walk, unexpected and unknown. A walk down through the meadows of Thorncombe from Coles Cross this week brought such a surprise: On the map it looked plain, but in life it was anything but. It spoke to me of the pastoral idyl of Hardy, unchanged but very much loved.

With the arrival of Purdey I have to get out, to release her from the monotony of a life indoors. Her sad eyes follow you endlessly, as she waits patiently. But once we are out I am glad that we are, that she urged me to follow her back into life. I would lie if I said that things were easy at the moment. My aches and pains have returned, plunging me into doubt as to why they have returned to plague me once more. My bones hurt, mystery burning sensations too. My head hurts behind my eyes. But I'm still free to see the waves break on the shore, to see my dog frolic in the sea once more.

The setting sun at Charmouth, a wet dog, a glad heart all

I have always held a special place in my heart for the Lake District, a place visited from when I was very young, dragged protestingly up mountains no matter whatever the weather. The stories of our journeys up snow-bound ridges in the depth of winter, ill-fittingly equipped, have passed into legend, as have the memories of sore feet and heated tempers. It is place that I return to for solace, to be amongst friends – those beautiful rolling fells. Whether I will finish my Wainwrights or not I don't know, but I'm a third of the way through now, so I can look around and can see where I've been. The names that I adore so much: Blencathra, Glaramara, Sail, Grasmoor, Helvellyn, Ladyside Pike, Wasdale, Ennerdale. They are places that I return to, to escape to in my dreams.

The North Western Fells from Red Pike, the High Stile Ridge, Buttermere.
A walk that I've been wanting to do for a long time, it didn't disappoint.
13/03/11: Red Pike, High Stile, High Crag.

One of those mountains in the previous picture, Whiteless Pike, on the descent from Wandope.
14/03/11: Grasmoor via Lad Howes, Eel Crag, Wandope, Whiteless Pike, Rannerdale Knots.

Just over a month ago I was lucky enough to get to the beautiful Borrowdale valley for a week on my own, to walk amongst the hills with my thoughts. Beautiful blue skies, snow on the tops, drizzling rain and cloud – all in a week – but all welcome. Concentrating mainly on the fells in the Buttermere and Newlands Valleys six days of walking yielded another twenty two Wainwrights, but more than anything it gave me the hope that maybe I will get to Mont Blanc, if not to the top to get there at least. If I just can keep on walking...

Another fell that I've wanted to climb for a long time, Fleetwith Pike.
16/03/11: Fleetwith Pike (pictured), Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Haystacks.

The same mountain, Fleetwith Pike – the view from the top.
A fun climb with a few interesting sections of hand-to-rock action.

I'll be adding another post with further pictures of the rest of my week shortly.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your entries.